The primary role of the Financial Services Department is to guide and support the City with financial accountability and reporting. We partner with all City departments to understand their financial needs and assist them in the accurate accounting and budgeting for all revenues and expenditures, while providing accurate and timely financial information for elected officials and citizens. Additionally, we are responsible for the City's purchasing and warehouse functions, utility billing and customer service. The Department accomplishes its mission by working collaboratively to provide exceptional service to both internal and external customers.
The objective of Accounting is to maintain the fiscal integrity of the City's internal and external financial reporting. In compliance with federal, state and City policies, they ensure the accurate and timely processing of vendor invoices, employee payroll activities, and capital asset tracking and reporting. Accounting is also responsible for related activities or assisting with other activities such as grant reporting, debt management and the coordination of the City’s annual financial audit.
Consisting of both Billing and Meter Services, this area is responsible for the timely and accurate billing of all utility accounts and miscellaneous invoices for other City services. In addition to reading nearly 67,000 electric and water meters each month, the Meter Services staff handles orders for new, transferred or terminated utility service, disconnections for non-payment, and meter re-reads. Other measures taken by this division to support the billing and collection of the City’s revenues include reviewing billing data for accuracy, processing adjustments as needed in accordance with City policy, investigating instances of utility theft or tampering, and taking extra measures to collect delinquent accounts.
In accordance with North Carolina General Statutes, the Budget Division prepares and maintains the annual operating budget for the City of Gastonia. They actively serve elected officials, City departments and citizens by being fiscally responsible and recommending appropriate measures to ensure the most cost-effective use of public funds and resources.
By being the main point of contact for many residents, this division assists roughly 40,000 customers with establishing, transferring or terminating utility services, as well as general inquiries about City services through a variety of in-person and online platforms. In addition, they are responsible for ensuring that a variety of payment types are properly posted to customer accounts, accounted for and reconciled on a daily basis. The Customer Services Division is located on the first floor of the Garland Business Center, 150 South York Street and open Monday through Friday, from 8 am until 5 pm, except for holidays.
All employees of the City of Gastonia depend on this division for biweekly and monthly payroll processing and ensuring that all deductions, benefits and taxes are handled correctly and timely. Payroll is responsible for implementing changes dictated by local and federal legislation and reporting to State and Federal agencies on a quarterly, yearly or as-needed basis. Payroll works to serve our customer, the employee, through prompt customer service and assistance with payroll related questions and coordinates with stakeholders throughout the City to ensure accurate and timely compensation to our employees for work performed.
Purchasing is responsible for the efficient and cost-effective procurement of goods and services to assist City departments in the delivery of essential services to our citizens. In doing so, the division’s primary objective is to ensure impartial and equal treatment of all vendors who wish to do business with the City, while complying with all federal, state and local policies and requirements. They routinely try to maximize the value of every dollar spent and, when assets are no longer needed for City operations, they properly manage the sale or disposal of surplus personal property.
These two areas of Financial Services carry out two very important functions for the City. First, they are responsible for managing and monitoring all of the City’s bank accounts and activity, while investing any excess funds not needed for daily operations. Secondly, in conjunction with other departments, they assist in identifying federal, state or private grant funding opportunities that allow the City to provide services and programs that may not otherwise be available due to restricted budgets. Both of these roles involve detailed periodic reporting, both internally and to other agencies, to assist in keeping the City of Gastonia fiscally sound.